Police ordered to pay up for drug arrest

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The Independent Online
HEATHER MILLS

Home Affairs Correspondent

A "highly respected" community worker was yesterday awarded pounds 76,000 damages from the Metropolitan Police to settle his damages claim for false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution.

Rennie Kingsley, 48, claimed he was assaulted by officers who smashed their way into his house, planted drugs on him and then maliciously pursued him through the courts on false charges.

Latest figures show that Scotland Yard has paid out nearly pounds 1.5m to settle 48 substantial court claims for assault or false imprisonment over the past two years - but has taken disciplinary action against only four officers as a result.

Mr Kingsley served four months in prison before his conviction for possessing LSD and cocaine was overturned by the Court of Appeal. The prosecution did not contest Mr Kingsley's submission that the truthfulness of the police officers' evidence at trial could no longer be relied upon.

Yesterday the High Court was told that a formal complaint on behalf of Mr Kingsley was investigated as part of the "Operation Jackpot" inquiry, conducted into allegations of corruption against a number of officers at Stoke Newington police station, north London. But the Crown Prosecution Service decided that no charges would be brought against officers involved in Mr Kingsley's case and neither were there any disciplinary charges. Russell Miller, Mr Kingsley's solicitor, told the court the only course left open to him in order to pursue his grievances was to sue.

The four-year Jackpot inquiry into up to 44 police officers has resulted in only one conviction. Although the individual officers involved in Mr Kingsley's case continued to deny his allegations, the Metropolitan Police did not contest his claims.

Mr Kingsley considered that the sum recognised the "injury, pain, shock, distress, anxiety, humiliation, degradation and loss of liberty", he claims to have suffered. The police have also agreed to pay his costs, estimated at a further pounds 25,000.

Mr Miller said Mr Kingsley was a man who, for the past 14 years, had worked with local voluntary projects for the homeless. "He has earned respect and standing in the community of which he is a valued member."

He was at an address in east London in August 1990, when police broke down the front door with a sledgehammer. At Stoke Newington police station, on the basis of "concocted and fabricated allegations" he was charged with the drugs offences.

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